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Kamui: The Lone Ninja (Kamui Gaiden) (2009) May 11, 2011

Posted by ayasawada in Film.
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Kamui Gaiden poster
I have to wonder, with a technologically-advanced society and one of the best animation industries in the world, why oh why is Japanese CG so goddamn awful?

Kamui is a distracting, if a tad over-long, take on the classic manga. Its a tale of one breakaway ninja and the forces that pursue him, the class boundaries of Tokugawa era Japan, and, at its heart, trust and fateful encounters. It has to its advantage a great performance from the ever-reliable Kenichi Matsuyama, a fascinating story and some super fight scenes.

Where it falls down is its attempt to pack maybe too many of the manga’s storylines into two hours – to the extent that a lot of plot turns seem a bit too random – and some frightening overacting (stand up, the overly emotional Susuku Ohgo, who plays Sayaka).

But its main problem is the computer generated effects. Far from blending into the background, or at least being bad in an ironic way (as in Japanese gorefests like Tokyo Gore Police or Machine Girl), Kamui’s CG just jars you out of the movie experience and there’s far too much of it. It’s a shame as the film itself, while not great, is entertaining enough. And you just feel that, for a samurai-era movie, there should be ways to do present most of this without having to resort to bad computer graphics. Especially if you know what your country’s track record is like.